Action Comics #441: "Weather War Over Metropolis!"

Action Comics #441
"Weather War Over Metropolis!"
November, 1974

Story: Cary Bates
Art: Curt Swan & Bob Oksner
Editing: Julius Schwartz

Oscar Asherman, the weatherman for WGBS-TV, has been making forecasts
with astonishing accuracy -- but what happens when these predictions
cause a... "Weather War Over Metropolis!"  On the splash page, the
WGBS-TV weatherman announces to viewers that a blue tornado will strike
the city of Metropolis, but no sooner does he make this announcement,
that the impossible occurs.

As Clark Kent wraps up the day's news, Oscar Asherman makes an urgent
bulletin for those citizens who live on 3rd Avenue.  At 6:41 this
evening, a blue tornado will appear at 52nd Street and 3rd Avenue...
With only seventeen minutes left, those who live in the area are advised
to evacuate.  Among those watching the newscast is Galaxy Broadcasting
President Morgan Edge...  From the penthouse suite of WGBS-TV, Edge
orders the operator to transfer his call to Studio B, and put the
weatherman on the phone.  As the mild-mannered television reporter wishes
the viewers at home a pleasant evening, he knows that the tornado will be
nothing compared to what'll happen when Oscar takes the call.

Clark won't be needing his super-hearing to figure out what the smiling
cobra has got to say, but as it happens, the weatherman has much to say
on the subject.  Although a twister has never struck the city of
Metropolis, he understands that if one does not appear this evening --
he'll be out of a job tomorrow.  The mild-mannered reporter has known
Oscar Asherman for years, and knows that the weatherman is serious about
his career.  Even so, the Man of Steel has got a feeling that it's time
to take a tornado-watch.

Just above the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 52nd Street, Superman has a
minute to spare before the tornado's arrival.  At the end of the
countdown, the blue tornado arrives, and the WGBS-TV weatherman's
prediction is proven to be absolutely correct.  No matter what color it
is, no tornado will damage Metropolis if the Action Ace has got anything
to say about it.  After flying into the center of the funnel at wind
speeds of 500-miles-per-hour, the Man of Steel exhales --

--And then inhales.  As the startled citizens watch in amazement, the
tornado is swallowed up by Superman.  Now with the pressurized air
trapped within his super-lungs, the Action Ace soars upwards through the
stratosphere...  WHOOOOSSHHH  A gust of super-breath and the blue tornado
is now out of action.  The following morning finds Asherman and Kent in
Morgan Edge's office, with the President wanting an explanation from his
station's weatherman.

When asked about how he is able to make such accurate predictions, Oscar
Asherman is at a loss to explain this newfound ability.  As the secretary
advises Mr. Edge on his reservations for tomorrow's dedication ceremony
in Masonville, the WGBS-TV weatherman has another flash of intuition.  He
advises his employer not to travel to Masonville -- because the town will
be doomed.  According to Asherman, there will be hailstones as large as
basketballs in Masonville tomorrow -- destroying the entire town.  Seated
next to him, the mild-mannered reporter has got a feeling that this will
be another job for Superman.  Chewing on his cigar, Morgan Edge figures
that his employee made a lucky guess -- but that's all.  He is not about
to disappoint the good people of Masonville -- the people who have named
their new public library after him.

As the President of WGBS Broadcasting addresses the crowd about his
snow-filled treks to town for a book from the library... Dale Smith tells
Clark Kent that anytime Edge did travel to town, it must have been while
riding a sleigh drawn by horses.  Even so, the mild-mannered reporter
knows that his rival TV-newscaster is covering the event all the same.
As Smith is getting Morgan Edge on film, Kent's camera is pointed up
towards the sky.  It turns out that the latest prediction of Oscar
Asherman is about to come true.  His telescopic-vision has spotted a
cloud above the town of Masonville, and basketball-sized hailstones have
begun to fall.  Dale sees Clark pointing up in the sky -- saying that the
Man of Steel has arrived to save the town from the deadly weather.  When
asked how he could possibly know about such a thing, the mild-mannered
television reporter promises to share the scoop, and heads for a phone
booth to call in the story.

As Morgan Edge continues to deliver his speech, he sees the officials
running for cover, and wonders if his delivery was that bad.  Giant
hailstones are come down towards the town by the hundreds.  The rival
newscaster has located Superman in his camera's viewfinder and believes
that this may be a job that not even the Action Ace can resolve.

The townspeople watch as the Man of Steel concentrates on hitting certain
hailstones, starting off a chain reaction... and causing them to slam
into one another.  The super-game of billiards will leave tiny fragments
which will harm no one.  Dale Smith is delighted by the sensational
exclusive he'll have, but the WGBS-TV reporter reminds him that this will
be a joint-exclusive between their two stations.  When asked if he phoned
in the story to Metropolis, Clark admits that he was panicking when the
hailstones were coming down, and ran for cover.  He never made it to a
phone booth.  Smith cannot believe the luck of Clark Kent, and wonders
how the mild-mannered television reporter has made it so far in the

Clark and Oscar are having lunch in the Galaxy Building commissary, with
the weatherman still unable to figure out how he is making those accurate
predictions, and Morgan Edge not in the mood for excuses.  When asked by
his coworker if there's anything he hasn't mentioned, Asherman tells the
reporter that whenever he's about to make one of his predictions, he sees
a name appearing before his eyes --  Mark Mardon.  As the mild-mannered
television reporter excuses himself from the commissary, we shift our
attention to Central City... where a trio of masked bank robbers are
running for their getaway car.  The Flash is waiting for them, but the
armed criminals open fire.  BANG!  ZING  ZING  BLAM!  The Scarlet
Speedster spins around at super-speed-- causing the bullets to be
deflected from his fast-moving form.

Now, the Fastest Man on Earth approaches them -- with the force of a
human tornado -- driving them back.  One of the crooks tries to escape
around the corner, but collides with an unseen obstacle.  KAPOW!  The
Flash is eager to see what the hood ran into, and is surprised to see his
fellow Justice Leaguer paying a visit to his city.

When the Action Ace mentions to the Scarlet Speedster the name of Mark
Mardon, the Flash recalls the other name he is known by -- the Weather
Wizard... one of the deadliest foes of his Rogues' Gallery.  Even though
he is behind bars, Mardon vowed to have his revenge before his sentence
was up.  He is completing his prison term at an upstate prison farm.
Despite the risk, the two heroes will pay him a visit, but the Man of
Steel has a suggestion to make before they leave Central City.  Now, at
the Central State Prison Farm, the library has been cleared out by the
warden, so that Mark Mardon can receive his visitors.  The Weather Wizard
is charged with causing deadly weather conditions in Metropolis, a charge
which he gladly admits to.  Thanks to his time in the prison infirmary,
Mardon was able to concoct his meteorological pellets...  One is for a
blue tornado, while the other is for a giant hailstorm.  By using these
two pellets, the Action Ace is sure to check up on him.  The pellets were
sent to Metropolis -- thanks to Mardon's weather expertise, and the air

By bouncing electronic brain-waves off the ionosphere, Oscar Asherman was
hypnotized into making those weather forecasts.  With his name implanted
into the weatherman's mind -- his plan to lure Superman and the Flash was
bound to succeed.  It all came together when Mardon read a certain book
by Lois Lane-- The Fabulous World of Krypton.  Everything about the Man
of Steel's homeworld, including its weather conditions made for fine
reading.  The meteorological phenomenon known as Black Lightning was of
particular interest to the Weather Wizard.  Unlike the lightning on Earth
which leaves its victims dead-- Krypton's Black Lightning turned its
victims into killers.  Mark Mardon then draws forth a miniature weather
wand and unleashes the killer bolt upon Superman.  Although Earthlings
cannot be affected by the Black Lightning, it will cause a Kryptonian to
be seized by a murderous rage, and will only fade after the victim has
killed off the person closest to him when it struck -- in this case, the

Even the Scarlet Speedster would be unable to outrun the Man of Steel.
When the Weather Wizard commands Superman to kill his arch-foe, the
Action Ace complies -- but by knocking Mardon unconscious with a karate
chop.  The Weather Wizard will be spending the rest of his extended
prison term wondering how his murder scheme has failed.  The two heroes
changed costumes in case Mardon had some foul weather planned.  If he had
succeeded in striking the Action Ace with the Black Lightning, the Flash
would have become a murder victim.  Thanks to a Superman head-mask and
some super-ventriloquism, Mardon was unable to detect their ruse, and is
now feeling a bit under the weather.  Now back in their proper
identities, they carry the unconscious prisoner back to the waiting

On the cover of Action Comics #441 by Nick Cardy, the Flash is pleased as
punch to see Superman visiting him in Central City, but not for long as
the Man of Steel delivers the punchline.

Cary Bates provides the readers with both a guest-villain and a
guest-hero to share the story with the Man of Steel.

The art team of Curt Swan and Bob Oksner blend in perfectly, and succeed
in presenting another amazing adventure of Superman.

The character of Oscar Asherman was named after Allan Asherman, who was
an editorial assistant at the time.

The WGBS-TV weatherman has long dark hair, a mustache, and wears a purple

If Lex Luthor were to don a disguise to spy on the happenings at the
Galaxy Broadcasting Building, Oscar Asherman would have been a natural.

Morgan Edge found news of a blue tornado about to hit Metropolis hard to
swallow, but thankfully this was not the case for Superman.

Dale Smith was modeled after Walter Cronkite.

The citizens of Masonville hail the Action Ace for his triumphant
super-billiard game in the sky.

When it comes to trying to outrun the Flash, a crook might as well try to
run into Superman.

For a prisoner at an upstate prison farm, Mark Mardon has got an awful
amount of time on his hands, and comes up with meteorological pellets to
help pass the time.

A little learning is a dangerous thing, and thanks to a book by Lois
Lane, the Weather Wizard makes certain that the Man of Steel is in the
lightning round against the Scarlet Speedster.

I don't know if it was sleight of hand or whether Mardon has quite a hunk
of hair on his head, but that miniature weather wand must have come out
of nowhere.

In addition to being the name of the horse belonging to the Western hero
known as Johnny Thunder, Black Lightning was the character created by
Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eden.

In recent days, another writer turned Black Lightning into a killer, but
this could only be believed if one chose to read those recent stories.

As with a cloud, each character has got their own silver lining, and
written therein are the names of Messrs. Isabella, Eden, Barr, and Aparo.
'Nuff said?

When the Flash removes the life-like Superman mask, he is still wearing
his distinctive winged cowl beneath it.  I'd like to think that Barry
re-donned his mask at such speed that even the readers couldn't see such
a swift motion.

This Review Is Dedicated To Bob Buethe And Tony Isabella

Steve Chung
"Weather Review Over Metropolis!"